Saturday, September 10, 2011

Saturday Artisan: Fairyshadow

Meet Tania of Fairyshadow.

Oh how I LOVE her shop, full of vibrant colors. So cheerful!

Find about more about Tania through our interview below. Perhaps someday I could drop by to where she lives.

Tell us a bit about yourself and what arts/ crafts that you make?
I am a work at home mother to two teenage daughters and a sweetheart of a husband. We are a ranching family, raising sheep and cattle in northern California. I am also a handcrafter who is working with upcycled textiles to produce a line of floral hair accessories. I also make waldorf inspired, natural fiber dolls.

Which part of creation process that you like to do the most?
I love being inspired by new-to-me fabrics. I recently found a couple of tie dyed t-shirts that made really beautiful flower petals. I am considering how I can alter some of the other textiles I work with using bleach and fabric dyes to give some visual texture to my blossoms. I love thinking about new ways do things and how I can put my own stamp on my products.

I also enjoy figuring out how to make my production as efficient as possible so that I can keep my prices reasonable.

For us who love to travel, could you share a bit about your beautiful town?
I live on a 300 acre ranch, about a mile and a half from the pavement, in the rolling coastal hills of Sonoma County. The region is well known for the wines produced here and many of the ranches neighboring ours have been converted to vineyards. We are fortunate to live in this beautiful place where the weather is temperate, coastal influence keeps us cool through the summer and relatively warm in the winter. No snow here.

Could you share on how your organize your products, we all can use a little tips here and there in this department?
I love clear plastic totes for organizing my crafting supplies. I can see what they hold and they do stack so nicely. I would love to have a space dedicated to my work but I am a kitchen table crafter so it is important to me that I can put everything away at the end of the day quickly and easily. I use the totes for my finished pieces as well, grouping like with like, making it simple to pack up for a show or farmers market. They keep everything dry and clean.

What is your best seller?

I have only recently started making and selling hair accessories but so far I have found the flower ponytail ties to be my best seller. My fairy babies are my best selling dolls.

How does your day go in general?
I usually start my day getting my children off to school, followed by household chores. By mid-morning I have time to work the online part of business for a while. With these tasks out of the way I can move on to crafting, usually working on a batch of items so that I have a series of a given piece, a bed of red flowers, for example, or blue dolls. Next, it is time to pick up the girls, do errands in town and then home again to evening chores. I get a bit more handwork done in the evening.

How do you balance your personal and work life?
It is all pretty integrated now. One thing flows to the next and because we work at home we sort out our own schedules so if we want to go to the beach we do and when it time to shear sheep it gets done. My husband and I sit down from time to time to sort out priorities, setting dates for dealing with ranching matters and the children’s needs and the other stuff fits in around those things. I enjoy my home life and family and my work suits the lifestlye.

Do you have a favorite Etsy seller?
At the moment, I am really attracted to handmadepretties shop.

What inspires you?

My sixteen year old daughter was diagnosed, and successfully treated, with cancer last year. She showed a powerful courage that has helped me see that so many things I worried about were relatively insignificant. What we perceive as big road blocks are often of our own making and seeing my daughter fight her way through treatment has inspired me to move through my own fears.

What is your goal for 2011?
To get through my daughter’s cancer, I took life one day at a time, watching only where my next step would land as looking to the future was at times, frightening. My goal has been to get my gaze off my feet and to look to and plan for the future once more.

And are you on the right track?

By opening my Etsy shop I have met one of my goals, so I have to say that I am on track.
What is your favourite tool that you cannot live without?
 I love my rotary cutter and cutting board. I cannot imagine having to do all my cutting with scissors. I would be so lost without them.

How do you promote your shop?

I just started to twitter and set up a facebook fanpage, but I am still trying figure out how it all works. I hand out free shipping coupons at shows and the farmers markets and I tell everyone I know about my shop.

Any advice for others running their on-line shop?
I am still pretty new to it myself but I guess I found I work every day on my business by setting attainable goals and trying hard to accomplish them.

Saving money is important; tell us one thing that you do to save money?
I try to use the resources I have on hand before going out and buying more. I frequent second hand stores for materials as well. We are an incredibly wealthy country and we sometime forget the riches we have in our own homes and neighborhoods. Harvesting those supplies doesn’t work for everything but you can surprise yourself sometimes with a little creative thought.

Stay-tuned for tomorrow's giveaway!


  1. I went to your Etsy shop Tania and heart it because I was totally blown away by the bright and cheerful colors, like bursts of sunshine! I especially love your fairy babies, they look so cuddly!

    So jealous that you are living on a ranch and and also get to enjoy some of greatest wine I'm sure, lol! BTW are those really sheep? They look so adorable!

    So glad that your daughter is free of cancer, such a dreadful disease. Let's all pray that a total cure would be found soon, it's heartbreaking especially when it happens to the so young!

    Thank you for sharing this interview with us Nat and thank you Tania.

    Have a blessed week.

  2. I would love to see more delicate things from you :). Maybe with sheer fabric and crystas, not buttons.? I think it would be good idea.

  3. I appreciate & admire what you're doing! It took a lot of courage, but finally you have achieved your goal! I wish you the best of luck and I hope to see more of your creations in the future!

  4. The thing that I have learned about you is that you are very passionate about what you do. Also, that you are a very strong person who is raising her children to be that way as well. Thank you for sharing everything.

  5. Thank you for all your lovely encouragement. Thanks to anonymous too for your suggestions. I've had hints from others as well that they would like to see beads incorporated into the pieces. I made some black flowers because I kept getting requests for those so I am beginning to range out some.

  6. I am a huge fan and admirer of Tania - who I have learned is as passionate and beautiful person and parent as she is an artist/designer. As the proud and very pleased owner of three of her marvelous hair/ pigtail designs I can tell you that you will adore! I colors, design and quality of Tania's creations is unsurpassed and a true joy to the customer and wearer!

    I also did not realize that Tania and her family have endured the challenge and heartbreak of a child stricken with Cancer. Although a 4-time cancer survivor myself, I cannot fathom the anguish of one's child suffering through this hideous and so unfair afflication.

    I want Tania to know that I adore her creative and beautiful designs and I wish her and hers all the best always and allways!